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H-75. Printed Ephemera

Michael Twyman

Underpinning this course is the view that ephemera deserve serious attention from cultural, social, and business historians, from design and printing historians, and from those with curatorial responsibilities for collections of paper-based materials. The course will address ephemera from several different directions, but principally with the needs of the curator and collector in mind. It will focus on c19 English-language ephemera, though the general issues raised relate to all periods and also to foreign-language material. Classes will consist of a mix of illustrated talks on specific topics, discussion periods, and sessions spent looking at original items. Issues to be covered include the processes used in the production of ephemera (in particular, transfer lithography and chromolithography); acquisitions policies and strategies; describing and cataloging ephemera; and the associated issues of dating, terminology, and the digitization of collections.

The course will make use of ephemera owned by Rare Book School and by the University of Virginia Library. Several class sessions will focus on the work of printers of ephemera (e.g. John Soulby and William Kitchin) and companies who commissioned printing on a large scale (e.g. Huntley & Palmers and Ransomes). Together these sessions will illuminate particular aspects of c19 ephemera, including their content, purpose, design, language, and method of production. Members of the class will be invited – though not required – to give short accounts or presentations of focused collections in their care, whether private or institutional.

In their personal statement, applicants are encouraged to describe any aspects of ephemera that they would particularly like to see brought up during class sessions.

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Course History

2001

Michael Twyman teaches this course for the first time.